Some people — and I include myself here — are simply built for comfort rather than scintillating track performance or breakneck speed.
So it is with Citroen’s exceptionally comfortable new flagship C5X crossover, which I’ve just been driving out in Spain before deliveries to UK customers from June.
It’s a very elegant vehicle in the manner and style of those classic low-slung French cruisers of the 1960s and 1970s, famous for their ‘magic carpet ride’. It’s a little-known fact that Citroen used to provide the suspension for Rolls-Royces.
Sit back and relax: The C5X is focused on a smooth ride over performance
Inside you can luxuriate in a stylish, lounge-like interior in a car that seeks to combine the practicality and space of an SUV with the versatility and low-slung styling of an estate, along with the elegance of a traditional saloon.
I drove first a very well equipped, but frugal, plug-in hybrid 225 e-EAT8 version in ‘Shine’ trim on 19 in alloy wheels, which costs £36,690.
It combines a PureTech 180 petrol engine with an 81.2kWh electric motor and a 12.4kWh battery pack to produce 225 hp to propel it from rest to 62mph in 7.8 seconds up to 145mph.
CO2 emissions are just 30g/km and it offers an electric-only range of up to 34miles.
But it really comes into its own when petrol engine and electric motor work together seamlessly to make most efficient use of the available power. It’s certainly a delight on long journeys and motorways. There’s plenty of room in the back for a budding President Macron; you could see this as a chauffeur-driven presidential car.
Packed with kit, including an extended head-up display, it also features driver assistance and safety kit. There’s a choice of six stately metallic and pearlescent colours, including Magnetic Blue, Pearl White (like mine but with a Perla Nera black roof) and Platinum Grey, and three trim levels.
The petrol range starts at £26,490 for the PureTech 130 in entry-level Sense Plus trim, with its frugal three-cylinder 1.2-litre engine. The cheapest hybrid starts from £35,190 in Sense Plus trim.
Significantly, no diesel version of the Citroen C5X is offered. Bosses said ditching diesel was a ‘cold-blooded commercial decision’ because its market share has slumped – especially in the UK – from 80 per cent to less than 50 per cent.
The passenger compartment is designed to be like a comfortable, calming and tranquil lounge with seats to make you feel like you’re at home in your living room. These seats have special padding ‘like a mattress topper’ and high-density and thickened structured foam to keep driver and passenger relaxed, even on long journeys.
Acoustic laminated front and rear windows insulate against outside noise.
Citroen’s chief executive Vincent Cobée said they were so focussed on practicality that a design prototype was tested with a washing machine – to ensure one could fit into the rear and be carried.
He said: ‘We had a very sophisticated tool to check roominess – a washing machine. We made sure it could fit through the tailgate and into the boot.’
‘Families carry all sorts of things, including washing machines. I told the team: until it fits it’s not signed off.’
M. Cobée said: ‘If any saloons are dying it’s because of a lack of creativity. People like touring. We are recreating the saloon with practical elements of the SUV and estate that people like and want.
Large Citroens have a long-standing link transporting French presidents and ministers, including most notably President de Gaulle in the classic Citroen DS, two letters which when sounded out in French sound like ‘goddess.’
Inspiring the new C5X are that Citroen DS ( 1955 to 1975) as well as the subsequent Citroen CX (1974 to 1991), the XM (1989 to 2000) and the more recent C6 (2005 to 2012) which ended production nearly a decade ago.
Citroen boss M. Cobee said five French presidents had used flagship Citroens as their state cars. He would be very pleased if the new C5X could transport a sixth.
But he said family customers were his priority: ‘With borders opening again, there’s no better way to get from, say, Newcastle to the South of France than by a C5X.’
Will it fit in my garage? New Citroen C5X crossover plug-in hybrid PHEV
First UK deliveries: June
Length: 4.8mHeight: 1.5m
Car driven: 225 e-EAT8 version in ‘Shine’ trim
Price: £36,690 riding on 19 inch alloy wheels.
Plug in hybrid: Combines PureTech 180 1.2 litre petrol engine with 81.2kWh electric motor.
Total power: 225 horse-power
Battery: 12.4kWh lithium ion battery
Gears: ZF eight-speed automatic gearbox.
0-62mph: 7.8 seconds
Top speed: 145mph.
CO2 emissions: 30g/km
Electric-only range: 34miles.
Hybrid Boot: 485 litres (1,580 litres with rear seats folded down).
Standard boot: 545 litres (1,640 litres with rear seats folded down).
Colours: Six metallic and pearlescent colours including Magnetic Blue, Pearl White (like mine but with a Perla Nera black roof) and Platinum Grey.
Trim levels: Sense Plus, Shine, and Shine Plus.
C5X prices start from: £26,490 for PureTech 130 with its frugal three-cylinder 1.2 litre engine in entry-level ‘Sense Plus’ trim, £29,990 for four-cylinder 1.6 litre PureTech 180 engine in Shine trim.
Cheapest hybrid starts from £35,190 in Sense Plus trim’
Features: extended head-up display, driver assistance and safety kit including blind spot detection, 360 degree cameras, and automated emergency braking aids, voice control and smartphone connectivity.
Aston Martin bids ‘last hurrah’ to V12 Vantage
Aston Martin has bid ‘a last hurrah’ to its V12 Vantage as the most powerful gutsy 200mph gas-guzzler-ever accelerates spectacularly to the end of the road.
Bosses at James Bond’s favourite car company said that it would go out on the ‘highest of highs’.
‘Highest of highs’: Aston Martin is producing a limited run of 333 V12 Vantages, from about £270,000 — and all have already been sold
It is producing a limited run of 333 V12 Vantages, from about £270,000 — and all have already been sold, with first deliveries this summer.
Its 700hp 5.2-litre twin-turbo engine linked to an eight-speed automatic gearbox takes it from rest to 62mph in 3.4 seconds and a top speed of 200mph.
Chief executive Tobias Moers said: ‘Now it is time to bring this bloodline to a close, fittingly with the most spectacular example yet — the fastest, most powerful and most dynamically capable V12 Vantage ever.’
Ford accelerating electrification plans
Ford is to accelerate its electrification plans by launching seven new electric vehicles in the UK and mainland Europe within two years, the company announced this week.
It will unveil three new passenger vehicles and four commercial ones by 2024, to join the all-electric Mustang Mach-e. That includes a medium-sized crossover from 2023; an all-electric version of the Puma compact crossover from 2024 (to be built in Romania) and a sports crossover.
Looking ahead: Ford will unveil three new passenger vehicles and four commercial ones by 2024, to join the all-electric Mustang Mach-e (pictured)
Ford says it will sell 600,000 electric vehicles a year — out of two million worldwide — by 2026. It also announced a battery giga-factory in Turkey.
But this move might cast doubt on the future of Ford’s Dagenham plant which makes diesel engines for Transit vans, though Ford bosses say there’s still a market beyond Europe.
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